Friday, November 18, 2011

30. Cowboy Jim

My Friend Jim 8x10 oi/panel

Today's sketch is a portrait of one my online artist friends, Jim.  He graciously sent me some photos to practice with, and this is a close up from one of those. He is actually riding a beautiful gray  horse in this photo, but I like the  angle of this - looking upward with him framed against the western AZ sky.  I told him it makes him look larger than life! 

The light was tricky  - shadowed from the hat, but at the same time a spot of sun, and also reflected light from his shirt - all of this light bouncing around in various way.  Working from photos too requires some ingenuity, or maybe "make it up as you go along" because the values and color are never spot on like they would be working from real life.. so you gotta sort of choose a color palette and go with it. To top it off, my pr inter is almost out of ink, so I had to work with a really less-than-stellar printed copy of the photo.  

Anyway, it is all good practice - and that's what we're here for, right?

29. Searching for Strays

Searching for Strays 8x10 oil/panel

The other day, I took the pooches, Gibbs and  Marley, for a run in an area I had not explored yet. I wanted to check out some trails and see if I could make a connection with some other routes we like to run.
On the way back to the truck, we, well, actually, the dogs, spooked up some stray cattle.  

We have open range here, which means cows are pretty much all over the place in the national forest.  But usually, by the first of November, the ranchers have moved their herds down to lower pasture, where it won't get as much snow and there will be better grazing for them.  I knew that the guys who graze cattle up in this area had already moved their cows out, and I figured they'd be looking for these strays, who somehow got separated from the rest of the herd.   So I checked the brand on these cows, and called it in to the district office to let them know where to go look for the wayward bovines.

Inspired by that encounter, I decided to paint one of the ranchers going to do just that.  They almost all have cattle dogs of one sort or another, and often drive the cattle on horseback, because the terrain is too severe for any other means!

I tried to remember to take shots of this in progress.. I forgot to take as many as I intended, but did put together a little animation for you to view.  I didn't plan this one out - (not recommended!) so there are numerous changes to the background as I played around with several options.  Mostly, I was using this as a test to see if I could figure out the animation software.  I think I got it, but it took me quite awhile!